Approval among member states for EU Safeguard measures has fallen sharply. Spot prices for metals up. Futures in the plus. And Indonesia wants to limit production of cheap Nickel Pig Iron.

Stainless Espresso: EU Safeguard approval rating drops significantly
Stainless Espresso: EU Safeguard approval rating drops significantly

Base Metals and stainless steel prices up

Chinese spot prices in the important base metals continued to rise today. Aluminum, nickel, copper and others are up by over 1%.

Market prices for stainless steel in China also continued to rise, up as much as 1.75%.

Futures on the SHFE and LME continue to rise

SHFE futures for nickel (+2.7%), aluminum (+1.22%) and copper (+2.03%) have risen.

On the LME, nickel is currently back at $17,825 per tonne and may be setting out to climb back above $18,000.

HRC and Stainless Steel futures on the SHFE are also up as much as 1.7% today.

Nickel pig iron: Indonesia considers restrictions

The Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Minerals is thinking about restricting the production of nickel pig iron (NPI) and nickel-iron. This is to limit the production of low value-added products.

Such a measure by the Indonesian Government could also lead to a further shortage of cheaply produced stainless steel made from NPI.

EU Safeguard: How member states voted

In the midst of an ongoing EU-wide crisis with extremely high steel and stainless steel prices, scarcely available material and delivery times that sources say have now reached Q1 2022, 17 EU member states voted in favor of another 3-year gag on the steel-consuming industry.

Eu Safeguard vote very close

The result for the extension of the EU Safeguard on certain steel products was very close. A Qualified Majority in the EU Council requires at least 15 (55%) member states covering at least 65% of the total population of all 27 EU member states.

Thus, just 63% of the member states voted in favor of the extension of the Safeguard measures – regardless of whether they represent 88% of the total population.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Malta and Ireland voted against the proposal, while Austria and Cyprus abstained.

Safeguard approval dropped significantly

In 2018, approval was much higher when the provisional EU safeguard measures were introduced, with 25 votes in favor and 3 abstentions.


Safeguard extension comes at an inopportune time

Still, the extension comes at an inopportune time. There is hardly any steel to be had on the European market, despite the fact that automakers have significantly cut production due to a lack of semi conductor chips – Volkswagen alone expects to produce 800,000 fewer vehicles in 2021.

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